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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Philippine top TV broadcaster critical of Duterte ordered shut

    MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines’ telecoms body ordered the country’s leading broadcaster ABS-CBN Corp to cease operations on Tuesday, as a parliament dominated by President Rodrigo Duterte’s loyalists dragged its feet over renewing its license.


    Duterte has repeatedly threatened to block the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, after the channel angered him during the 2016 presidential election by refusing to air his campaign commercials.


    Opposition lawmakers described the order for the channel to suspend operations as “ill-timed” given the need to inform the public in the battle against the coronavirus outbreak in the country.





    In a statement, ABS-CBN said it will stop operations Tuesday evening to comply with the order from the National Telecommunications Commission, while also imploring lawmakers in Congress, the lower house of parliament, to renew its franchise, which expired on May 4.


    “We trust that the government will decide on our franchise with the best interest of the Filipino people in mind, recognising ABS-CBN’s role and efforts in providing the latest news and information during these challenging times,” the channel said in a statement.





    Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the government was grateful for the broadcaster’s service, but ABS-CBN’s fate lay with the Congress.


    The channel also said it had been given assurances that it could carry on broadcasting while the bills to extend its franchise still lay with the Congress.





    Yet, NTC Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios said that the order for the channel stop operations took immediate effect, but added that ABS-CBN could appeal through the courts. The regulator also gave ABS-CBN 10 days to respond and explain why frequencies assigned to it should not be recalled.


    ABS-CBN, a 66-year-old entertainment and media conglomerate, employs nearly 7,000 people, operates radio and television stations nationwide and distributes online content.


    Antonio Albano, vice-chairman of the lower chamber’s committee on legislative franchises, said Congress will order the telecoms body to explain its action.


    “We are up in arms against this,” Albano told DZMM, adding that only Congress can grant or revoke franchise.


    An opposition senator said the closure of the channel undermined the fight against the coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more than 9,600 people in the Philippines, and killed more than 600.


    “This shutdown order goes against public welfare,” Senator Risa Hontiveros said in a statement.

    Philippine top TV broadcaster critical of Duterte ordered shut – Thai PBS World

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    How very "Hun Sen".

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Philippine Broadcaster Seeks Court Injunction Against Shutdown

    Embattled Philippine broadcaster ABS-CBN Corp. asked the highest court Thursday to issue an injunction against an order that forced most of its operations off the air, as the government criticized foreign media for linking President Rodrigo Duterte to the shutdown.


    ABS-CBN, the largest television and radio broadcaster in the Philippines, filed a petition with the Supreme Court two days after it stopped broadcasting on its public channels, when telecommunications regulators ordered it to cease operations because its license had expired on Monday, a senior executive with the network confirmed.


    “We hope it would be acted upon favorably,” Ging Reyes, the head of the network’s news department, told BenarNews.


    The shutdown order from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) “violates the right of the public to information and is a curtailment of the freedom of speech and of the press,” according to the 46-page petition.


    Parts of it were read out on ABS-CBN’s cable news TV program, which remains on the air. The network’s online platforms and subscription-based cable operations are still functioning because they were not covered by the closure order.


    The petition also accused the commission of a “grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction” and of acting in “bad faith” by giving ABS-CBN a cease and desist order on May 5.


    “The NTC’s bad faith, malice and underhandedness are simply shocking, and abhorrent,” the broadcaster said, referring to how the NTC had earlier agreed to grant the network a temporary permit while it still waited for Congress to issue a new license, after its 25-year franchise officially expired on May 4.


    Officials at the telecoms commission could not be immediately reached for comment.


    On the day before the network’s license expired, Solicitor General Jose Calida warned that the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) had no legal basis to grant the network provisional authority (PA) to stay on-air for the time being, as the agency had indicated it would do.


    When the commission issued its order to ABS-CBN, it said the network could no longer air programming on its public channels “absent a valid Congressional Franchise as required by law.”


    The network, whose critical news coverage of the Duterte administration’s controversial drug war has rankled the president, applied to renew its license more than three years ago. But Congress, which is authorized to issue such a license but is majority-controlled by Duterte’s allies, has not yet acted on bills to do with the broadcaster’s franchise.


    ‘Independent and impartial decision’


    On Thursday, the Duterte administration lashed out at international media organizations, accusing them of being biased in how they have covered the closure of ABS-CBN’s public channels.


    Martin Andanar, secretary of the Presidential Communications Office, condemned the “unjust and unfair” reporting of some international media organizations. He did not name the international agencies, but nearly all of those represented in the Philippines covered the story.


    “We decry any claims and assertions associating President Duterte with the National Telecommunications Commission’s independent and impartial decision to impose a cease and desist order against ABS-CBN Corporation,” Andanar said.


    “Such claims are bereft of truth and just a rehash of an old malicious imputation to bedevil the President and his administration. One should understand, first and foremost, the Philippines’ legislative processes and rule of law before connecting any precedents as being orchestrated by the President,” he added.


    According to Andanar, Duterte had accepted an apology from ABS-CBN Corporation, and therefore this should cast aside any doubt that the President had a hand in NTC’s decision. Andanar was alluding to how the network had previously angered Duterte by not running his campaign ads during the 2016 presidential election.


    “No one is above the law. ABS-CBN’s shutdown was brought about by the expiration of its 25-year legislative franchise last 4 May 2020,” the press secretary said.


    “It is within the purview of the Constitution that NTC, as a regulatory body, disallows the continued operation of any broadcast network with an expired franchise. Therefore, [it is] totally unfair and objectionable for some parties and some international media to insist that what happened to the network is due to ‘having incurred the ire’ of the President,” he said.

    Luis Liwanag and Basilio Sepe
    Manila

    Philippine Broadcaster Seeks Court Injunction Against Shutdown

  4. #4
    Member Bettyboo's Avatar
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    Have the broadcasters been shot dead as drug dealers yet?

  5. #5
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    ^ one has, I do believe.I bet Trump wishes he could do the same.

  6. #6
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    The station's expiry of franchise has been an issue since February / March. The station has been lobbying for renewal of their franchise, but due to the lockdown & covid, the issue got sidelined. And then May 5 arrived (expiry date of framchise) - they don't have a license to operate, so they were asked to stop operations of their free TV channels. However, they still have their ANC cable news channel (it's in English) and they still have internet operations. I still see some news clips on YouTube.

    From what I know, the network also has a lot of issues shoved under the carpet - especially re: employees' salaries, benefits, labor laws, etc. But I think that these issues can be resolved with negotiation, either with labor groups or the govt. I pity the employees of the network whose jobs are in limbo now - especially since nobody is hiring due to the lockdown & pandemic. Aside from camera crew, newswriters, etc, they also have a lot of actors/ actresses in their lineup. Plus all the bit players involved in shows & soap operas like production assistants, makeup & wardrobe staff, etc.

    Btw, I heard some rumours that the ECQ (lockdown) in Metro Manila & surrounds will be extended until May 31st. Arrgh. I don't mind wearing masks & social distancing, but I'm tired of the lockdown - entering week 9 here. Sigh...

  7. #7
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    ^ I read the same thing.

  8. #8
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    Another take on the subject of ABS-CBN's closure

    They underestimated Filipinos’ disgust vs ABS-CBN oligarchs – The Manila Times

    +++++

    IMO, the network should answer/ negotiate the issues before they are allowed to operate fully again. They have issues re: labor (dismissal of enployees, non payment of salaries & benefits), tax issues, etc.

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